Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review of The Agincourt Bride by Joanna Hickson


Title/Author: The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois #1) by Joanna Hickson
Publisher/Date published: HarperCollins, August 19th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court.

Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position.
But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France.

Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger?

So you guys probably know that I enjoy reading about historical figures, they come more to life than from the stuff you read in history books and I have a bit of a Tudor obsession, so reading about the mother of the first Tudor king is just the thing for me!

And I enjoyed The Agincourt Bride, just not as much as I would have hoped to. It was ok, but it wasn't exciting, I wasn't scared for Catherine or for Mette, even when something really terrible happened to Mette. I was disgusted, but I never doubted that either of them would be ok and not only in the sense that they wouldn't die, but also mentally ok.

I did like Mette, she's thrust into the royal household just hours after she's lost her own child and manages to get through this without basically any support, I know that it probably happened more often back then, but it still feels barbaric to just expect a woman to get over it immediately and get to work. But Mette is a smart, sensible and strong person and somehow she manages. Probably also because she has baby Catherine to care for.

Catherine is sweet and loyal and has a quick mind, all things I appreciate. Sometimes I wondered if she was a bit too good to be true, but those moments passed. It's such a contradiction how she has power as a princess and at the same time really doesn't have much say in what happens in her life. I liked seeing the interactions between her and King Henry towards the end of the book, they had really sweet moments.

I think most of the excitement is probably still coming in the sequel, The Tudor Bride. There are some awful and wonderful things that history tells me are still in store for Catherine and I wonder how Mette will play her part in them.
The Agincourt Bride was an ok read but not one of my favourites so far, maybe The Tudor Bride will be.

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, August 11, 2014

Review of Black Ice by Susan Krinard


Title/Author: Black Ice (Midgard #2) by Susan Krinard
Publisher/Date published: Tor Books, August 12th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie known as Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

The trickster god Loki has reappeared in San Francisco, and he has big plans for modern-day Earth. With few allies and fewer resources — but the eyes of the gods and goddesses of an old world upon her — it’s up to Mist to stop him before history repeats itself.

***WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES***

So I love mythology and I enjoyed Mist, the first book in the series. So I had my heart set on more Norse mythology goodness!

And while I did get some of that, I felt like Black Ice suffered from second book syndrome. It just feels like it's a build-up to major events happening in book 3 and while there are several battles taking place, it never really felt like the stakes were high. I didn't feel like either of the main characters was actually threathened by the events and it wasn't exciting as it should have been.

We do meet a set of new characters, which I liked, well most of them. There are is a monster that I could have done without knowing, cause he's nasty! But I liked getting to know more of the Valkyries. I did guess pretty early on that there would be a twist about one of the new characters and what it would be, but it's pretty well done.

I felt like Black Ice didn't give me all that many answers to questions I had and I get that it can't give me all the answers as it's not the last book in the series, but I would have liked just a little more knowledge about where this is headed. And OMG I just wanted to shake Mist and Dainn and their non-relationship that's the big elephant in the room and tell them to just KISS ALREADY and stop worrying about the beast or what the beast will do or just STOP IT WITH THE BEAST OK. There was so much talk and thinking about the beast. It was kinda getting on my nerves.

I do still very much like the richness of the Norse mythology and Mist and Dainn are kinda awesome, but I just wished Black Ice would have been a little more exciting than it was.

My rating: 2 stars

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Daisy Update (55) Featuring a teeny tiny kitten!

Hi guys!

So it's been about 5 months since my last update... I've been sucking at blogging lately, but as I had exciting news to share, I'm back with this update.


Last Wednesday we adopted a teeny tiny kitten from the animal shelter and since then she's been busy exploring the living room, sleeping on my lap, playing with a feather on a string and a fake mouse, sleeping on the couch, testing the limits of where we allow her to climb on (which does not include the lamp or the table) and sleeping on chairs. Basically she's been one cute little creature and I love her! We named her Zoë :)
I love having a pet in our home again, it's just more of a home with one in it. The boyfriend was a bit hesitant about getting a pet, but Zoë is so adorable, you just can't help but love her.


The only one who doesn't much like it is our neighbours' cat, who used to just walk in and out and sit in my lap sometimes, she's not allowed in the house anymore at the moment and does not appreciate this. It's kinda hard to take a good picture of Zoë cause she's so dark, I need to get a camera with flash or something.

As for other things that have happened since I last did an update: we went to Marocco for 2 weeks, which was awesome, we had the four day walking event in Nijmegen that happens yearly and is always a lot of fun, and just so many things happen in 5 months! We had 4 book club meetings and went to see The Fault In Our Stars, which broke my heart. It was worse than the book somehow!

In 3 weeks I'll be saying goodbye to the practice I'm working at now, my first year is almost over, it's hard to believe the year has gone by so fast! Which is a little sad and exciting as well.

Now I'm gonna go back to cuddling Zoë :) Hope you're all having a great Sunday!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Review of The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lacky and James Mallory


Title/Author: The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters #1) by Mercedes Lacky and James Mallory
Publisher/Date published: Tor Books, August 5th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

In theory The House of the Four Winds should have been my next favourite novel. Cause it has lots of things I love: fantasy, woman pretending to be a man, pirates. So I went in expecting to love it, but it didn't do much for me unfortunately.

I really don't understand, cause I really liked Mercedes Lackey's writing in The Fairy Godmother, but I just never felt like I was really invested in the story. I never really felt that the stakes were high and things were dangerous and the story just sorta mellowed on towards the end and then that was it and I was like where's my excitement? I wasn't really feeling the romance either and had expected a little more outrage or just SOMETHING at the revelation that Clarence was in fact a Clarice. I mean, that should be kinda shocking right? I would be shocked to find out one of my friends was actually a woman instead of a guy.

Also, I was kinda angry at the whole crew for not rebelling against their captain sooner, cause one awful thing that happened could have easily been prevented and it wasn't and then they were oh NOW let's rebel and just WTF guys? Also, in the end they got rid of that annoying woman who was trying to get them killed too easily.

But the main problem was that I just wasn't sucked into the story and was kinda bored actually. Which is a shame, cause it had serious potential to be awesome.

My rating: 2 stars

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review of The Summer of Jake by Rachel Bailey


Title/Author: The Summer of Jake by Rachel Bailey
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, Embrace, August 4th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan...

Life is just dandy for aspiring fashion designer Annalise Farley. She has a great job (or she will once her designs are discovered), parents who only slightly disapprove, a cat that thinks she’s a dog, and a best friend... even if she hasn’t seen her in a while. But then Jake Maxwell saunters back into her life. Jake, the love god. Jake, her best friend’s older brother. Jake, who broke her heart at sixteen without realizing it, then left to become a pro surfer. Now he’s back, having taken the surfing and business worlds by storm, and he’s ready for a new challenge — catching the eye of another girl. And he wants Annalise’s help. Helping Jake land his next girlfriend is too fraught with emotional danger for her liking, but then Jake offers to put her designs in his shops. Is that the sound of her life cracking at the seams? It’s hard to tell with Jake smiling at her like she’s the only thing that makes him happy...

I LOVE the best friend's older brother plot. Seriously. As a teenager I used to wish one of my friends had an older brother that I could fall in love with, but sadly, that never happened. So I live vicariously through stories like this.

I really liked Annalise! She has spunk and is a little quirky, with her car she named Mindy and her cat who thinks she's a dog and I liked it cause I could identify with her quirks. Plus, she's a badass fashion designer and I respect creative people. Also, she knows what she wants and knows what she DOESN'T want and I respected that she didn't want to be just another fling for Jake.

And Jake. Jake is kinda awesome and I probably would have fallen for him as well if he'd been one of my friends' older brother or basically just walking by. He's a bit clueless when it comes to women and his own heart and has ISSUES because of his dad and I just wanted to shake him at one point because he was acting like an idiot and just UGH! But it made for some beautiful tension and it made the happy ending all the sweeter, so it all worked out in the end.

So Annalise and Jake definitely had chemistry and I loved seeing them grow closer and felt like they truly had a solid basis for their relationship. And they were surrounded by a lovely family, Jake's sister and mother are wonderful and loving and just my kind of people.
The one thing that I was a teensy bit iffy about is that Jake goes to Annalise to get fashion advise because he's trying to get together with a woman, but he doesn't seem all that interested in her at all, so it felt a bit off that he would go to such lengths to get her and never feel like he's all that into her. But other than that I was happy with this fluffy romance!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review of Finding Miss McFarland by Vivienne Lorret


Title/Author: Finding Miss McFarland (Wallflower Weddings #3) by Vivienne Lorret
Publisher/Date published: Avon, August 5th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Delaney McFarland is on the hunt for a husband — preferably one who needs her embarrassingly large dowry more than a dutiful wife. After the unspeakable incident at her debut, Delaney knows marrying for love is off the table, but a marriage of convenience — one that leaves her free to live the life she chooses — is the next best thing, never mind what that arrogant, devilishly handsome Mr. Croft thinks. Delaney plans to marry for money... or not at all.

Ever since the fiery redhead burst into his life — in a most memorable way — Griffin Croft hasn't been able to get Miss McFarland out of his mind. Now, with the maddening woman determined to hand over her fortune to a rake, Griffin knows he must step in. He must help her. He must not kiss her. But when Griffin's noble intentions flee in a moment of unexpected passion, his true course becomes clear: tame Delaney's wild heart and save her from a fate worse than death... a life without love.

So I needed a bit of fluff after reading a book that had gruesome murders in them (The Diviners, it was AWESOME, but creepy) and decided that Finding Miss McFarland would be just the thing for it. And I was right. I like being right.

I really liked Delaney, she's smart and though she may overreact a bit when it comes to social humiliation (ok, so I would be mortified to if that had happened to me), I liked how she handled that and what lengths she went through to try and avoid Griffin. And succeeding for a year before they ran into each other again. There's some mastermind plotting going on and I liked it. I also really liked it when her methods started to fail, because we wouldn't have a story if they didn't. I liked how she is into fashion and is also the kind of woman who sticks up for the less fortunate.

And Griffin... Griffin is my kind of guy. He's intrigued by Delaney and is all honorable and such a good guy that it made me smile. A lot. I loved seeing him with his mother and sisters, he's the perfect older brother and I liked that about him. And also, I liked that he kinda messes things up a bit towards the end, because I love it when the hero has to chase the heroine and get her to be with him. There were totally tears in my eyes.

I mentioned Griffin's sisters already, they and Delaney's sister are AWESOME. Seriously, if I had a sister, I would want her to be like them, because they're supportive, funny and just lovely girls.
One thing that threw me off a bit was how fast they went from running into each other a couple of times to I love you, I felt like they barely knew each other, but while that detracted a bit from the story, I did really enjoy the book as a whole and I think Griffin and Delaney are good together.

My rating: 4 stars

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Blog Tour! Review and Giveaway of Magnolia by Kristi Cook


Title/Author: Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Publisher/Date published: Simon & Schuster, August 5th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.
Goodreads | Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Book Depository

Let me confess something first: I love a good hate turns into love story. So obviously I was excited to start Magnolia, cause it promises just that. And guys, while it wasn't hate-hate, Kristi cook did not in the least disappoint me with Magnolia!

I really liked Jemma, she's smart, she has a passion for filming, is a crack shot and just a good friend. I loved the relationship she had with her sister! They're true sisters and get annoyed with each other, but there's real love there as well and I just love a good sibling relationship. Jemma knows right from wrong and I appreciated her not going along with DUI even if it was the boy she was sort of dating. Also: I really liked Jemma's best friends, they're supportive and just girls you can trust.

So then there's Ryder. Ryder is my kind of guy. Seriously. He's just a good guy, and you know how much of a sucker I am for the good guys. I love how he has a hidden passion and how he's just there for Jemma when she needs him. And also I liked that he was scared of the storm because no one can be perfect and it was adorable. Ryder has a bit of a hero complex, but not in an annoying kind of way, in the here let me solve this for you kind of way and it made me smile.

And together these two are just SPARKS! And FEELINGS! They have issues and don't always see eye-to-eye and there's tension and other people getting in the way and I was like JUST ADMIT YOUR FEELINGS DAMMIT. Cause I had them. Feels. And the time Jemma and Ryder spent together in her house during the storm was just perfect. Awkward and exciting and just a whole lot of chemistry. And then the storm passed and it felt so realistic how things progressed from there.

So there's that small town feeling that I love and a couple I could root for and lovely friends of said couple and dances and a storm and just a whole lot of things that make me happy. Though there's a dramatic event in the book, it's still a pretty light and fluffy read, perfect for a summer day!

My rating: 4,5 stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
As a child, Kristi Cook took her nose out of a book only long enough to take a ballet class (or five) each week. Not much has changed since then, except she’s added motherhood to the mix and enjoys penning her own novels as much as reading everybody else’s. A transplanted southern gal, Kristi lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

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***GIVEAWAY***
By courtesy of the lovely miss Kristi Cook herself!

PRIZE: Win (1) $25 gift card to an online bookstore of choice (Amazon or BN) plus an entire paperback set of the Winterhaven series (Haven, Mirage, and Eternal) [INT]

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